Larder beetles are widespread and common household insect pests that pose multiple issues for residents of infested homes. Larder beetles are best known for being insect pests of stored food products, specifically cured meats, such as stored ham, bacon, and beef jerky. These beetle pests will also consume a variety of other household foods, as well as materials containing animal byproducts, such as cheese, tobacco, dried fish,wool, fur, hides, and feather-down pillows. If that is not bad enough, larvae inflict damage to structural and decorative wood sources by boring a half inch deep hole below the wood surface for nesting purposes, and it is not uncommon for larvae to damage books, insulation and cardboard as well. While larder beetles are often found infesting packaged food items kept in pantries and cupboards, the beetle pests rely mainly on sustenance in the form of dead insects that collect within wall voids, ducts and floorboards while overwintering within homes.

Larder beetles enter homes most frequently during the spring and fall seasons, but these pests can live and reproduce entirely indoors throughout the year. In fact, larder beetles often manage to successfully “overwinter” within homes, which  means that the insects survive the cold of winter by securing indoor shelter during the fall season before returning outdoors come spring. During the fall, numerous insects flock into heated homes in order to avoid parishing from the winter cold, and most of these insects die, which provides overwintering larder beetles with an abundance of food during the long winter season in the northeast. These dead insects include stink bugs, beetles, flies and wasps, and they collect within wall voids, ventilation ducts, beneath floorboards and in attic spaces where larder beetles congregate during the winter in order to feed and lay eggs in obscurity.

While these beetle pests are nesting and reproducing in secret within homes, larvae often inflict damage to structural wood within wall voids. Surprisingly, research has shown that larder beetles can successfully bore through lead with ease and tin with some difficulty, so large numbers can inflict significant damage to structural wood, but this is rare. Adult larder beetles look similar to small boxelder bugs, but their wing cover is dark brown and oval-shaped with a white or light-colored band running horizontally across the back. Adults are ⅓ of an inch in length, while dark-brown and worm-like larvae are usually around half an inch in body length. These beetle pests invade homes by squeezing through narrow foundation cracks and other obscure entry points on the exterior of homes. These entry points can be easily sealed with caulk in order to help prevent infestations.

Have you ever found damage to exposed structural wood that may have been inflicted by a non-termite wood-boring insect species?